The World Wide Scholarships (WWS Scout Camp) talent identification camp held in Pretoria in December has yielded its first successes for South African athletes aiming to make it big in American football.
Lloyd Greeff was one of the players picked by the WWS scouts and is being assessed by the NFL International Pathway Programme, which helps global talent break into the sport. In addition through WWS’s network, Lloyd may get the nod to participate in the Penn State Pro Day which is considered to be the most well attended college pro day in America.
Top standout linebacker Micah Parsons and freak athletic Nigerian Defensive End Jayson Oweh will attend the Pro Day to look for talent.
Greeff has been training since being picked in December and is awaiting his opportunity to further showcase his talent on the right stage.
“I have been training 6 days a week with a strong focus on speed work, strength and conditioning. American Football is not too different to rugby when it comes to most training but I have concentrated on my speed work more so as the game is focused on bursts of short sprints,” Greeff said.
Greeff is aiming to be a rare pick for an NFL franchise because not only does he have great athletic ability and size standing at 6’5 and 250 lbs, but he also can field goal over 55 yards and punt extremely well. For an NFL franchise to do both is rare.
WWS is the world’s leading African talent linkage organisation, helping international sporting clubs and universities discover young talent on the continent for potentially lucrative contracts overseas. CEO Munya Maraire has personal experience of chasing the NFL dream and knows how difficult it can be without the right events and opportunities being presented.
“Despite representing Zimbabwe in youth rugby, I fell in love with the game of American football instead and decided to chase my dream by moving to the US. Ultimately I was unable to break into a professional NFL team, but this was where the concept of WWS was born and I am extremely proud to be able to help other young athletes’ dreams come true,” Maraire says.
The NFL is the world’s most lucrative sporting code and Maraire says it has the potential to open new doors for African athletes. “This is a unique opportunity for young stars like Lloyd to possibly land contracts playing in the NFL. We are very excited about the start of this new chapter in African talent recruitment,” he says.
December’s scouting camp attracted more than 250 budding African sports stars in the fields of rugby, American football, soccer and basketball. NBA high-performance coach Jesse Wright attended the camp to coach and help identify talent. Jesse worked for the Philadelphia Eagles NFL team and the NBA team Philadelphia 76ers as the head of performance was very impressed with the level of talent displayed in South Africa from the athletes.
Maraire says that despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic the camp was well attended, and 30 players have been identified for overseas opportunities in multiple sports. WWS, which operates across the African continent, opened a new office in Kenya in January.
By contrast with South Africa leaning towards explosive power sports like the NFL thanks to the country’s love for rugby, Maraire says the Kenyan office will have a strong focus on bringing Kenyan talent to the NCAA and NBA in America on account of Maasai people being tall and skilled at jumping as a matter of culture. “The plyometric training in normal sports theory makes them excellent candidates for basketball.”
“I am very excited for the next phase of my career and playing American Football is a dream for many and I know with the hard work and dedication I have put into my training, I can be one of the first South African trained sportspeople to play in the NFL,” concludes Greeff.
The next WWS scout camp will take place in Kenya in the third quarter of 2021 to focus on East African talent.